Story Land amusement park, nestled in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, recently earned the Certified Autism Center (CAC) designation from the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES). This certification demonstrates Story Land’s dedication to provide a space where guests will be supported by staff who have completed training to accommodate needs specific to those with autism and other sensory disorders.
Beyond the 20 beloved rides, Story Land also offers unique dining experiences, shows, story time with Mother Goose in her manor, photo opportunities with storybook characters, carnival style games, & Los Bravos Silver Mine for emerging explorers. Eternally geared toward pleasing younger guests, Story Land is the perfect setting for little ones to create their very own magical tale.
The International Board of Credentialing and Continued Education Standards (IBCCES) announced today that OdySea Aquarium is the first attraction – and aquarium – in Arizona to become a Certified Autism Center (CAC). The CAC designation, granted by IBCCES, means that visitors and families with children who have autism and other sensory differences can enjoy the best possible experience that caters to their needs. To achieve today’s CAC accreditation, OdySea Aquarium completed the critical training required by IBCCES to recognize the needs of guests on the spectrum and provide necessary facility options for this demographic.
“We know families with children on the autism spectrum often find it challenging when choosing an attraction to visit,” said Greg Charbeneau, Vice President and General Manager at OdySea Aquarium. “Our mission to connect visitors with the wonders of the ocean has no exclusions. We have always made the necessary accommodations to make all guests as comfortable as possible – on every visit. This certification was a natural step for us as we continue to provide safe, engaging and memorable experiences for all of our guests.”
Children with autism are often drawn to water, but without proper training, water can also be a real danger to them. PADI instructors partnering with IBCCES can be an important part of helping these children remain safe and become more comfortable around water.
Drowning is a leading cause of death for children with autism. Much of this is preventable by teaching children who are naturally drawn to water better skills for how to swim and manage themselves when they are in the water.
Many families want to help their child develop new skills and abilities, but they have a hard time finding places to do it.
How Autism Certification Can Make a Difference
“Often the road block isn’t the children, it’s finding programs, instructors, and businesses that are willing to adapt their ‘normal’ operations to accommodate and meet the needs for special needs children.” -Chris O’Shea, parent of a child on the autism spectrum (see Chris O’Shea’s original blog post).
As businesses grow and evolve they are beginning to understand the importance of hiring employees who think differently and approach situations in ways one might consider out-of-the-box.
These neurodiverse individuals include people on the autism spectrum who possess skills that are in high demand, but are often hard to come by. It’s time we start paying attention to the undeniable value neurodiverse people provide to companies all over the world.
The term neurodiversity is a concept that “considers the range of differences in human brain function and behavioral traits as normal variations.” Many times, this term refers to autism, but it can also include other cognitive disorders and disabilities.
Dive Georgia a full-service scuba, snorkel and travel center has completed the process of becoming a Certified Autism Center (CAC), which is a designation that demonstrates the organization’s commitment to ensuring guests and families with children who have autism have the best possible experience when visiting their center or taking a dive class. They are the first dive shop in Georgia to earn this designation.
In West Liberty, Iowa, first responders recently completed autism training, stemming from an incident where a child with autism escaped from his home and went to the public pool.
As a nonverbal child, he has trouble communicating with people and they can have trouble communicating with him. This means that being around water can be especially dangerous.
This article, and many others, demonstrate the need for nationwide autism training for first responders. IBCCES offers online training specifically designed for law enforcement and first responders that has already been implemented in numerous departments across the US.
Gotham Divers, a local New York City dive shop dedicated to offering the highest quality training at all levels of SCUBA has completed the process of becoming a Certified Autism Center (CAC). The CAC a designation demonstrates the dive shop’s commitment to ensuring individuals and families with children who have autism have the best possible experience when taking one of their dive courses. They are the first dive shop in New York to earn this designation.
Splish Splash Water Park, in conjunction with the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES), announced the completion of a staff-wide autism sensitivity and awareness training. The completion designates Splish Splash as a Certified Autism Center (CAC) as distinguished by IBCCES, making it the first water park in New York to receive such a distinction.
Working closely with IBCCES, the staff at Splish Splash will be continually trained to assist guests with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families to help ensure a positive experience during their visit. Splish Splash will also undergo an onsite review by IBCCES and will incorporate sensory guides for each ride so guests with sensory needs can better plan their day and make informed choices best suited to their individual needs. Guests can also visit Splish Splash Guest Services for any additional accommodations they might need.
As autism spectrum disorder (ASD) becomes increasingly prevalent, it is important for companies to understand how people with autism can be a true asset to an organization. Hiring and creating a functional workspace for individuals with diverse talents and needs can help organizations reach their business goals, create a healthier and more inclusive workplace, and provides more opportunity for individuals with ASD to contribute their talents and skills in a meaningful way.
Paul Shattuck, an associate professor of health management and policy at Drexel University’s Dornsife School of Public Health and director of the Life Course Outcomes Research Program at the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, recalls when autism was almost unheard of: